This question comes from Kimberly. She asks American Gymnast:
“How often does a gymnastics floor exercise need to be replaced if both team kids and recreation kids are using the same floor? If you don’t replace a floor often enough, can team kids end up with more foot, knee and back injuries because of it?”
The longevity of a Floor Exercise depends on a lot of factors. The number of kids that are tumbling on the floor, as well as their skill level will affect how long the floor lasts. A floor that has only recreation kids tumbling on it is going to last longer than a floor that has recreation and team kids tumbling on it. Gyms with competitive cheerleading squads will also wear out a floor faster than those without them.
The type of floor and foam you have will also have a big impact on how long your floor exercise lasts. Spring floors will last longer than foam block floors. Fiberglass coated wood panels will last longer than standard plywood.
The foam you use on your floor will make the biggest difference on how long your floor feels springy. You have the choice of one of the following types of foam to put on top of your floor deck:
- 1-3/8” Cross-Link Foam
- 1-1/2” TriLam Foam
- 2” Cross-Link Foam
- 2” QuadLam Foam
The thicker foam is going to last longer, and either the TriLam or the QuadLam is going to last longer than the Cross-Link Foam. The Cross-Link foam is less expensive, but over time will break down faster and leave you with those dreaded “dead-spots” in the floor.
You should regularly walk across every part of your floor, particularly the diagonals and the corners, to feel for any dead or separated spots in the foam and/or broken boards. Be sure to replace or repair these as soon as you find them.
Though, I am not aware of any objective data substantiating it, I can say from personal experience as a competitive gymnast that “yes,” a floor that is older with worn-out or old foam is definitely harder on a gymnast’s body. I definitely had more pain in my lower back and, in particular, my ankles when tumbling on a worn-out floor. So, personally, I think that making sure your floor exercise is in tip-top shape could help to reduce the number of injuries your gymnasts experience on this event.
Thanks for the question to Ask American Gymnast Kimberly! Be on the lookout for a $20 off coupon to use on your next order with American Gymnast.
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